Councils lock horns over skatepark
A PARISH council has been forced to pull down a £40,000 skatepark just a year after it was put up due to complaints over noise.Babergh District Council has told Glemsford Parish Council to relocate its youth facilities park, after serving it with a noise abatement order.
A PARISH council has been forced to pull down a £40,000 skatepark just a year after it was put up due to complaints over noise.
Babergh District Council has told Glemsford Parish Council to relocate its youth facilities park, after serving it with a noise abatement order.
But the parish is now refusing to relocate the skatepark, basketball court and kick wall. It plans to store the equipment and is now demanding answers from Babergh over why it is forcing the move even though it helped to promote the original project.
Parish clerk Sara Turner said: “We are totally amazed that no communication seems to have been made between the departments of planning, environmental health and leisure over this whole fiasco.”
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The skatepark was built after youths in the village approached the parish council about the idea two years earlier.
The park was sited at Tower Meadow after parents and the Police Authority said the facility should not be built on the village's Recreation Ground because of a lack of visibility from the main road and access for emergency vehicles. At the time the parish council received one verbal complaint over the plans.
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Babergh District Council gave a £12,500 grant towards the scheme, which was backed by a £2,481 grant from Suffolk County Council and a £1,000 grant from the Police Authority. The parish council raised £23,134.
The parish council said Babergh were kept informed at all times in the planning and sitting of the park and planning permission was required.
But Babergh District has now served the parish council with a noise abatement order and ordered the park to be relocated to the Recreation Ground.
The owners of a property neighbouring the site complained about noise and the site being too close to the boundaries of their home.
Babergh District Council has told the parish council that it will have to move the facility because of the noise and because it is not a sufficient distance from the property.
Babergh has offered to partially fund the relocation of the park, but the parish council will have to contribute another £9,600, which it said is unfair.
Mrs Turner added: “Babergh were involved in this from the beginning, but we were never given any notification by them of the boundary rules, until we got this abatement order. We approached them from the beginning and acted under its guidance and now they do this.
“Due to one complaint and Babergh's failings the kids are now losing the only thing they have in the village and we feel very sorry for them.”
Babergh's head of leisure & community services Tim Mutum said: “Throughout the Glemsford skatepark issue, Babergh has tried to act as the honest broker, balancing the needs of the village's youth with those of the wider community. The site selected was felt to be the best then available to achieve this difficult balancing act.
“Unfortunately, once the new skatepark was completed, Babergh received complaints about noise and as the authority responsible for environmental health we had a statutory duty to investigate the complaint. Our officers considered that the complaint was justified and therefore gave the parish council six months to remove the park.
“Since then, we have been working with a number of other parties, including the parish council, to purchase land at an alternative site.”